Two Navy Members Die When Plane Crashes Into Residential Neighborhood: A 'Tremendous Loss'

Jason Duaine Hahn
·3 min read

U.S. Coast Guard Academy Lt. Rhiannon Ross

A Navy instructor pilot and her student were killed when their plane went down during a training flight over Alabama on Friday, officials confirmed.

Lt. Rhiannon Ross, 30, and Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, 24, were in a two-person U.S. Navy T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft when it crashed in a residential neighborhood in Alabama on Friday afternoon, according to the Navy. Ross, a Michigan native, and Garrett, of North Carolina, were the only fatalities. No civilians were injured.

The duo had taken off from Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, for what was supposed to be a routine training flight. The Navy is now working with local authorities to investigate the cause of the accident.

"Their spirit, friendship, and devotion to their country will not be forgotten," the Navy said in a press release sent to PEOPLE.

As noted by the Navy Times, pictures from the crash scene in Foley, Alabama, showed the plane's debris outside of a home with at least two damaged vehicles nearby.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Cmdr. Wes Barnes of the VT-2 Doerbirds wrote a tribute in honor of both Ross and Garrett.

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U.S. Coast Guard Academy U.S. Coast Guard ENS Morgan Garrett

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of two of our squadron members Friday evening: LT Rhiannon Ross and ENS Morgan Garrett," Barnes wrote. "During a training mission, their T-6B crashed into a residential area near Foley, AL. We are thankful no one on the ground was injured, but sadly neither crew member survived."

"Our sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the family members who have suffered this tremendous loss. I cannot express the devastation we all feel at this time," Barnes said. "I'd like to personally thank all of the support we have received from family, friends and colleagues from all over."

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"I encourage everyone to take care of each other and the families directly affected by this tragedy as we navigate through the healing process," he added.

Garrett left a collection of pointers for her peers just before her graduation from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in April 2019. Her advice was posted to the group's Facebook page.

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The husband was a pilot for United Airlines, according to the local sheriff's department

"Being honest, having strong morals, and knowing right from wrong," Garrett wrote of the importance of integrity. "Always choose to do the right thing even when no one is around to see you do it. And have the reward for doing the right thing be the pride you feel for choosing right over wrong."

"Always seek out the next thing you can be doing to improve yourself, the people around you, and your unit as a whole," she continued, "because there is nothing good growing in stagnant water."